Project Name

Innovative Materials for Industry 4.0 (IMI4)


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Project Team

SETU Carlow:

  • Dr David Culliton, Programme Director
  • Dr Frances Hardiman, Head of Faculty
  • Mr Sudeepth Nair, Industry Engagement Lead


  • Dermot Brabazon, Programme Lead (DCU)
  • Dr Muhannad Obeidi, Materials Expert

Project Descriptor

The Innovative Materials for Industry 4.0 programme has been developed to upskill and reskill Level 5-9 learners who were looking to understand and manage the materials-sustainability-Industry 4.0 nexus. It has adopted a disruptive approach to online learning by embedding into the programme Extended Reality and 3D Immersive Content, alongside blended learning and flipped classroom pedagogies, in a block release format that fits the busy schedule of forward-thinking learners and their employers. This innovative, stratified pedagogical approach promotes the application of acquired knowledge to solve authentic problems and produce relevant results. Students take advantage of digital and traditional tools to produce high quality, collaborative results.

The core focus was to develop with industry, a novel curriculum which is transformative, regionally and nationally scalable, and replicable across other Higher Education Institutes (HEls). It has been designed to be delivered in both co- and multi- location scenarios using Technology-Mediated Instruction, such as Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), and Extended Reality (XR). It has also been designed to strategically align with and exploit the model of best practice, which has been applied so successfully across similar industry-led academic infrastructures in SETU Carlow and DCU. It has achieved this by combining technical acumen with Transversal Competences or ‘transferable skills’ – individual competences which have diverse relevance. These competences include Critical, Innovative and Reflective Thinking, Communication Skills, Collaborative prowess, Self-Motivation, Intercultural Understanding, and environmental sensibilities. Examples of these applications include the life-long learning and linked provision programmes for which IT Carlow are nationally renowned, and the award-winning Level 9 programmes currently available in DCU.

Two distinct phases were undertaken within the programme development process programmes leading to major, minor, supplemental and special awards, which sympathetically align the programme with the complex needs of all the stakeholders.

Interesting Collaborations / Partnerships

The initial phase of the collaboration included preliminary discussions and analysis of the key deficit knowledge and skills identified in the area of innovative materials. Discussion with the industry partner and letters of support from industry further identified the rationale for this area of expertise and advanced mode of delivery.  Programme content would be delivered through disruptive teaching (face to face, online learning, VLEs, AR, interactive playback, and applied projects), contributing to a differentiated instructional style to appeal to students of every applicable level.

The main opportunity for collaboration has been driven by the novel, state-of-the-art Extended Reality content. As a result, discussions are on-going with MTU, London City University, and the University of Limerick. Although these conversations are generating a lot of interest, no consolidated projects have yet developed.

Enterprise Engagement

Lufthansa Technik Turbine Shannon is the enterprise partner on the programme. Mr. Barry Lowe has been crucial and instrumental in the delivery of the project thus far. In addition to Mr. Lowe, other companies have contributed to the development and delivery of this programme.

A wider cohort of industrial stakeholders were involved in the validation of this programme and, more interestingly, the development of the Extended Reality and Immersive Content. These include Universities in Ireland, Scotland, England, Austria, Switzerland, Scandinavia, and Germany. It also involved regional and international companies, including Trident Safety Group, Keenan Alltech, Pearson International, Hirtenberger GmbH, Germany, and Delmec.

Whilst not directly participating in the programme, industrial relationships have also been developed with the hardware suppliers, such as ThermoFisher, Walter+Bai, Alicona, Anton Paar, and Aconity. These companies, in part or in whole, see the advantages of training through Extended Reality and are actively supporting the development of this content.

The developers of the Extended Reality and Immersive Content (FourthReality, PNX Labs), and the SETU Intern team, have become de facto partners in this project. These companies have provided personal insights in the development of a holistic and realistic experience for the learners.


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Last updated: Monday 24 April 2023

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